UEFA has tagged the Women’s European Championship hosted by England as the biggest in women’s history. The tournament has almost sold out the tickets put on sale with crowds to double the figure from the last event.
The popularity of women’s football is soaring, with the pace, technique and style improving daily. It has generated plenty of interest from both genders. Unlike in years past, many people have shown interest in women’s football, and its status should continue growing.
With more money coming into the game, the attraction should soar. As usual, Europe is at the forefront of the growth of women’s football, and the continent will display top-level football to the world this week. The Women’s European Championship will take centre stage with the eyes of the world all on England when the tournament commences.
Europe converges in England
On Wednesday, hosts England take on Austria as the Women’s European Championship begins. The message from the organizers is about making history. Despite being no match for men’s football, one cannot ignore the growing popularity of the female game.
The numbers expected for the tournament are already off the charts, with a record-breaking 500,000 tickets purchased. The figure is twice as many as attended in 2017. Wembley will host the already sold-out final on 31 July.
Hosts England have been tipped as favourites to win Euro 2022 on home soil. Given the form they shown in recent years, it is hard to bet against them winning.
The biggest tournament in history
The first game between England and Austria comes up at Old Trafford. The game will be watched by 70,000 fans, with the BBC showing all 31 matches spread across 25 days live to the world.
Seventeen years after the first tournament, the organizers have tagged the competition as the “biggest women’s sporting event in European history”.
It is hard to argue against the assertions of UEFA as the enthusiasm is at a fever pitch.
Sixteen teams are participating in this tournament. It includes the defending champions Netherlands and debutants Northern Ireland.
Excitement is high amid cheap tickets
Everybody who loves women’s football is eagerly waiting for the tournament to begin. With half a million tickets sold with purchases from 99 countries, many were left surprised at the level of interest in the championship.
The Euros holds every four years, but this one is coming five years after the Netherlands won it in 2017. The competition was slated for 2021 but was shifted by 12 months to accommodate the men’s 2020 European Championship and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Euros and the Olympics were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The venues are all over the country, but the Midlands or North East will not host any games. It is also the first time Video Assistant Referee technology will be used at the tournament.
UEFA made available 700,000 tickets, with about half a million already purchased. It almost doubles the numbers that watched the 2017 edition hosted by the Netherlands. Ticket prices range from £5 to £50 to attract families to the games. It means a family of four can watch a match for as low as £30.
There has, however, been criticism of the Manchester City Academy Stadium, which has a reduced capacity of about 5,000.
Group A: England, Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland. Venues: Manchester (Old Trafford), Southampton, Brighton.
Group B: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland. Venues: Milton Keynes, Brentford.
Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal. Venues: Leigh, Sheffield (Bramall Lane).
Group D: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland. Venues: Manchester (Academy Stadium), Rotherham.